We were established on September 1, 2016 under the auspices of the Korean Research Foundation.
The purpose of our research center is to research the current legal and social environment surrounding people with decision making impairments in Korea to improve their human rights and facilitate their integration into communities.
Our research center advocates for the self-determination right of people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, dementia and other kinds of disabilities related to decision making. However, we do not make little of the necessity of protecting those people from imminent dangers. Emphasizing the right to self-determination necessarily entails responsibility for the results coming from self-determinations. Those results might be disadvantageous to people who exercise their rights to self-determination.
Risking such disadvantages can still be worthy for people with impairments to decision making ability because it can have educational effect on their personal development unless those disadvantages are seriously dangerous to their life, body, and essential property.
What is needed for those people is assistance and support rather than excessive protection. We will research social and legal systems for people with dementia, mental illness, and developmental disabilities situated at the danger of deprivation of their rights to self-determination by surrogate decision makers such as legal protectors and guardians.
We are absolutely against applying full guardianship to people with disabilities. Moreover, we are against any type of guardianship that limits and deprives the legal capacity of people under guardianship.
We are for various alternatives to legal guardianship, whereby self-determination can be fully exercised for the care and daily lives of people with impairments to decision making. It should be provided with an enduring power of attorney, advance directives to care and medical treatment, trust schemes for care and daily life, representatives for social benefits and social services and proper use of court-appointed guardianship services.
For that purpose, we have cooperated and will cooperate with foreign institutes and academics and practitioners. We welcome any kind of contribution and cooperation to our work.
Director of the Korean Research Center for Guardianship and Trusts (KCGAT)
Professor Cheol-Ung Je